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ARC Review: Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes

Summary

Ever since her mom died three years ago, Analee Echevarria has had trouble saying out loud the weird thoughts that sit in her head. With a best friend who hates her and a dad who’s marrying a yogi she can’t stand, Analee spends most of her time avoiding reality and role-playing as Kiri, the night elf hunter at the center of her favorite online game.

Through Kiri, Analee is able to express everything real-life Analee cannot: her bravery, her strength, her inner warrior. The one thing both Kiri and Analee can’t do, though, is work up the nerve to confess her romantic feelings for Kiri’s partner-in-crime, Xolkar—aka a teen boy named Harris whom Analee has never actually met in person.

So when high school heartthrob Seb Matias asks Analee to pose as his girlfriend in an attempt to make his ex jealous, Analee agrees. Sure, Seb seems kind of obnoxious, but Analee could use some practice connecting with people in real life. In fact, it’d maybe even help her with Harris.

But the more Seb tries to coax Analee out of her comfort zone, the more she starts to wonder if her anxious, invisible self is even ready for the real world. Can Analee figure it all out without losing herself in the process?

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Review

Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since my last review, but I’m back to talk about Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes! From the moment I read the summary, I knew I had to read this book! Not only does it include online gaming, but it also has that fake relationship I love seeing in YA books! But if you think the book met my expectations, I need to tell you something. It didn’t.

It surpassed them!

First of all, I really loved Analee’s perspective. She was honest and relatable, to the point where you could root for her in almost any given scenario, even when you can admit she’s being unreasonable. I think it’s because I knew where she’s coming from since we’re given access to her internal monologue. While she isn’t as open with everyone else, as a reader, you can see the contrast between her personality when she’s more comfortable with people versus when she isn’t as comfortable. To be honest, I liked how this book tackles social anxiety and how it affects both the socially anxious person and the people around them. The book doesn’t magically cure her in the end just because she starts hanging out with a boy, but it does show Analee’s resolve can overcome her anxiety when she really wants to accomplish something, whether it’s reading in front of children to making a toast at her dad’s wedding.

Additionally, I liked the depiction of connections Analee had in the novel, past and present. You see her older relationships through flashbacks while the newer ones are forming within the novel and become more concrete as the novel progresses. Analee doesn’t shy away from the grief she feels since her mother’s funeral, which is a big part of the novel. It did leave me teary a lot of the time, but I also wanted to read those beautiful moments between her and her mother! You could see similar flashbacks in regards to her father and friend as well since the bonds between them changed drastically within two years. It helped convey the tension between them in the present pretty well.

I could say so much more about the novel, like how it was the first RPG book I loved since Gamer Girl, or how I loved that whole fake-boyfriend ordeal, where it really reminded me of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I’m going to leave it here for now. If anyone wants to talk about it further, feel free to leave a comment in the section below! Ultimately, I admire how Analee handles things, especially at the end of the novel. It wasn’t the ending I expected, but that’s what made it so great! And for those of you who are interested, Analee, in Real Life comes out on September 18th, 2018!

Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Scream All Night by Derek Milman

Summary

A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about growing up and finding your place in the world, perfect for fans of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Running With Scissors.

Dario Heyward knows one thing: He’s never going back to Moldavia Studios, the iconic castle that served as the set, studio, and home to the cast and crew of dozens of cult classic B-horror movies. It’s been three years since Dario’s even seen the place, after getting legally emancipated from his father, the infamous director of Moldavia’s creature features.

But then Dario’s brother invites him home to a mysterious ceremony involving his father and a tribute to his first film—The Curse of the Mummy’s Tongue. Dario swears his homecoming will be a one-time visit. A way for him to get closure on his past—and reunite with Hayley, his first love and costar of Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, a production fraught with real-life tragedy—and say good-bye for good. But the unthinkable happens—Dario gets sucked back into the twisted world of Moldavia and the horrors, both real and imagined, he’s left there.

With only months to rescue the sinking studio and everyone who has built their lives there, Dario must confront the demons of his past—and the uncertainties of his future. But can he escape the place that’s haunted him his whole life?

Sourced from Goodreads

Review

My rating:

Hey there, fellow readers! I recently read Scream All Night by Derek Milman and I’ve got to say that I really enjoyed it! At first, I was a tiny bit skeptical that I would like it, what with it being compared to Nice Try, Jane Sinner and all. I loved Nice Try, Jane Sinner right off the bat, so when I didn’t like this one right away, I thought it was a sign that I wouldn’t like the book as well. But it’s just that Dario is definitely his own character and comparing him to Jane Sinner wasn’t really fair of me. Thankfully, I kept on reading to see what happened next and I’m glad that I did!

What did I like about this book? Where do I begin? Other than it obviously being in the realm of the entertainment industry and Moldavia Studios itself having an elusive history, I really liked the relationships represented in this book. From Dario and his family, to Hayley and Moldavia as well, this book explores all Dario has left behind when he was forced to leave home as a child. All these connections made him the person he is today, whether he wants to admit that or not. In the end, Dario has to figure out how to accept his past if he wants to start the next chapter of his life.

I really liked the pacing of the story as well. Even though a lot of time has passed, that can easily be explained away by how oddly time can move being secluded in Moldavia. This made the story more fast-paced and less involved in the details. It also contained little articles that helped push the story along, whether it was about Moldavia Studio’s founding, Dario’s parents, or Zombie Children of the Harvest Sun, the movie Dario and Hayley starred in when he was young. Honestly, it was kind of hard to finish this book since that meant leaving the characters and their compelling stories.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book by Derek Milman and glad it was recommended to me. If you like reading about B-rated horror movies, the ongoings of the entertainment industry and people trying to figure out their place in the world, you should definitely check out Scream All Night. It comes out on July 24th, 2018. Also, if you have any questions about Scream All Night or any recommendations on books like Scream All Night, feel free to comment in the section below.

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

I received this copy from a publicity agency via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley

Summary

Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.

Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.

The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.

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Review

My rating:

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Hello, fellow readers! I’m back with another review! Today’s review is on Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. From the blurb alone, I knew I wanted to read the book. It had all the things I liked: movies, acting, writing, YA novels, a romantic relationship between the actor and writer. But even with all these factors going for the book, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

Don’t get me wrong; the beginning was pretty great. I loved reading Teddy’s perspective and seeing how nervous he was with things that mattered to him. Also, it allowed readers to delve a bit more into his character to understand the motivations behind his actions. And yeah, I didn’t always agree with his choices, but most of the time, I understood where he was coming from (except this one part where, for the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around).

And then the POV switch happened and Bennet became the protagonist. This is when things started to go downhill for me. I just felt as if Bennett’s POV was too much for me sometimes, because I didn’t understand the reason why she pushed Teddy away. Maybe it was because of trust issues or just because she’s a private person. Either way, it doesn’t explain why acted the way she did after knowing someone for two days! And what’s worse is that we know she can be witty and a joy to talk to, seeing how she was in the first half of the novel through Teddy’s POV, but by the second half, she’s pretty reclusive and is prone to biting people’s heads off. I’m not saying that protagonists shouldn’t have an off day or feel angry or lash out, because that’s the whole point to them being relatable. What I don’t like is the fact that her feelings seem too strong for barely knowing someone. But that’s just my opinion; feel free to disagree!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. It wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but overall, it was okay. If anyone wants to read it though, the book is coming out this Tuesday June 12th!

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

Summary

The author of the beloved Love Letters to the Dead returns with a parallel story of a mother and daughter each at age seventeen. Marilyn’s tale recounts the summer she fell in love and set out on her own path. Angie’s story is about her search for her unknown father.

This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie. To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie’s father, James, who was African-American. But Angie’s never met him, and Marilyn has always told her he died before she was born. When Angie discovers evidence of an uncle she’s never met she starts to wonder: What if her dad is still alive, too? So she sets off on a journey to find him, hitching a ride to LA from her home in New Mexico with her ex-boyfriend, Sam. Along the way, she uncovers some hard truths about herself, her mother, and what truly happened to her father.

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Review

My rating:

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Hi, everyone! I’m back with another review, this one being on In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira. I was pretty excited for this book and had high expectations for it. While it might not have reached those high expectations (like 6 stars expectations), I still liked it overall. I just was interested in some areas of the book more than others.

This is my second time reading a intergenerational novel and I’m really glad that In Search of Us was written this way. If it was written with only one POV from a certain time, it wouldn’t have been the same. In fact, I believe the book would have lost something. It was incredible to read where Angie and Marilyn come from. I also liked the fact that it wasn’t chronological at all, but started off with Angie’s POV and then switched back and forth between Angie and Marilyn. Like you were getting pieces of the story before seeing the whole picture. A picture that made me cry by the end, I might add!

As for the characters, I can say without a doubt that I loved how our two protagonists were portrayed. Since they were given the most voice, I felt as if they had the more room to grow and develop within the story than other characters. However, I still felt as if some of the secondary characters were round, too, like James, Justin, James’ and Justin’s grandparents, and even Sylvie. There were a few characters that didn’t appear as much as I would have liked and thus, I didn’t really get a sense of them. More like I got a sense of the roles they were meant to play within the novel. The funny thing about these characters are that they are tied to Angie’s POV and time (her friends, people she meets, etc). I’m not sure why that is, though. All I can say is I wasn’t as invested in reading about Angie’s friends and her relationships with them…

Well, that’s about all I have to say about In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira. It was pretty good overall; I just wish I didn’t put such high expectations on it! The next novel I go into, I’m going to make sure I have as little expectations as possible. That’s a promise! 😉 Anyways, if anyone is interested, In Search of Us comes out on March 6th, 2018! Oh, and if you have any comments or questions about this book, feel free to ask in the Comments Section below.  Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Hey, everyone! I know I’ve been gone for a long time, and I’d like to apologize for that. I recently started an internship and things have been really hectic lately. I will try my best to keep posting from now on, but I probably will have moments where I’m super silent. 😉

Anyways, I wanted to let everyone know that Paper Princess by Erin Watt is $1.25 CAD on Kobo and only $0.99 CAD on Amazon Kindle and iBooks! So I say this to anyone who has ever wanted read this great, great soap opera of a book: buy it now! 😀

Have a wonderful day, everyone! And keep reading!

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Summary

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought.

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Review

My rating:

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Hey, everybody! I just finished reading In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody and couldn’t wait to talk about it! Now more often than not, if I take a while to finish a book, it usually shows my disinterest. That certainly wasn’t the case with this one! Every time I picked it up, I was intensely interested in the story and what was happening to Kennedy. Even when things got really dire and mysterious! My only problem was that I didn’t have enough time in the day to read it quickly enough!

I remember saying in this week’s #ARCstravaganza that I really liked the story’s concept and I stand by that statement. The idea of choices leading you on multiple pathways is not an old one, but one that used a lot in today’s media. But at the end of it all, right or wrong, Kennedy learns that people have to live with their choices and make the most of it.

I also liked how this book explores the other characters in relation to Kennedy. For instance, although Laney isn’t a main character or seen often in this book, In Some Other Life does revolve around Kennedy’s crumbling relationship with her best friend, spurring her into action and the plot of this book. And all the while, Kennedy is given a chance to reexamine her friendship and realize a couple of things about Laney. Other than these two, there are a whole bunch of characters enriching the book and making it so much more enjoyable!

Well, that’s all I have to say about In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody. If you like a lot of contemporary with a bit of scifi, then this is the book for you! Now I really want to read Jessica Brody’s other books, like A Week of Mondays! It sounds right up my alley at the moment! So if In Some Other Life is a book you’re interested in, get ready, because In Some Other Life comes out soon on August 8th! Oh, and all comments and questions are welcome in the section below! Have a restful Sunday, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Hey, everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is only 1.99 CAD on Amazon! Perfect for people who like grittier contemporary, especially fans of Katie McGarry! It’s an oldie but a goodie, that’s for sure! 😉

Take care, everybody!

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Summary 

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

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Review

My rating:


Hi, everybody! Another day, another review! This time, I’ll be reviewing Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. Now, I’m going to be honest here. When I first got this book, I wasn’t too eager about the cheaing aspect of it. I was more interested in the characters as individuals rather than a couple. I wanted to see their development and I think that affected how I read this book. It was an okay read but far from my favourite contemporary. 

First of all, I didn’t get into the book until past halfway. It’s just that I couldn’t really relate to Jill until she tried to be a better person. Don’t get me wrong; she was an awful person. I sympathesized with her when it came to familial issues, but as a person, I couldn’t get on board with what she was doing. She was basically helping Max cheat on his girlfriend. That’s how I felt in the beginning. But by the end, I thought that it was admirable that after all that, Jill has a desire to do the right thing. She wanted to be better, and makes an effort to do so. The second part of the book goes more into character development, where I believe that the first part sets the scene.

Anyways, other than that, it was kind of your average Contemporary YA novel with your stock characters like the best friend, the mean girl, the girl next door, etc. In some cases, thus actually stopped characters from becoming fully fleshed. I feel as if Becky, Max’s girlfriend, suffered the most from this. She had no motives or desires other than being Max’s girlfriend, from what I could tell. Even if she was a mean girl, I would have liked to have known more about her and the possible underlying reasons for that. 

But I did really like the dash of baking the book added! In fact, whenever the book got to talking about Jillian’s passion for baking or her confectionary masterpieces, I probably gave it my full attention, at the same time thinking, I must check to see if there’s a recipe for that I could bookmark for later…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. While I didn’t find the beginning to be all that intriguing, by the end, I liked it a bit more. I think this book is your standard contemporary, so if you are looking for that, I’d suggest adding Kissing Max Holden to your reading lists. 😉 And for those of you who are interested, Kissing Max Holden comes out on August 1st, 2017. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the section below. Thanks for reading, everybody!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Hi, everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that P.S. I Like You by Kasie West is on sale for 2.51 CAD on Amazon Kindle and 2.99 CAD on Kobo! Not sure why there is a difference in price, but still- it’s a steal! This book is perfect for people looking to dive into a sweet contemporary! Take care, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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